Review – The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

The Goblins of Bellwater

By Molly Ringle

SummaryA contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. 

Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.

Unaware of what’s happened to Skye, Kit starts dating Livy, trying to keep it casual to protect her from the attention of the goblins. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Kit, Skye draws his cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods, dooming Grady and Skye both to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever.

It’s a midwinter night’s enchantment as Livy, the only one untainted by a spell, sets out to save them on a dangerous magical path of her own.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

I picked up The Goblins of Bellwater on a whim while book shopping. I was drawn to the cover and the fact that it’s set near where I’m currently living. I love the idea of goblins in the woods and have enjoyed every goblin/faery story with that plot/backdrop, so I felt like this was a great pick for me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think the book was as gorgeous as the cover. I don’t know what I expected, but I think what ultimately failed for me was the execution. I knew going into it that was more of an urban fantasy/new adult romance and that was fine, but i think I expected a bit more magic and even the sensual aspects, since it was based off of the poem, to be higher and more ramped up. Skye lingered in the forests and was drawn to the spell of the goblins, but I didn’t FEEL it. When she was quiet and cursed, I didn’t feel the longing that way I expected. Instead, the POV switched over to the sister and became more of an ordinary small town romance. I wish I wouldn’t been more connected to the characters.

In the end, the book felt more like a contemporary romance that you’d find for 2 bucks on Amazon and I don’t mean that in a good way. It was forgettable and not as enchanting as the synopsis or cover suggested. It was frustrating because there was so much potential for the story to be amazing and it just didn’t fit together in a way that grabbed me. 

Star 2

 

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Review – Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Summary: The most popular pirate story ever written in English, featuring one of literature’s most beloved “bad guys, ”’Treasure Island’ has been happily devoured by several generations of boys—and girls—and grownups. Its unforgettable characters include: young Jim Hawkins, who finds himself owner of a map to Treasure Island, where the fabled pirate booty is buried; honest Captain Smollett, heroic Dr. Livesey, and the good-hearted but obtuse Squire Trelawney, who help Jim on his quest for the treasure; the frightening Blind Pew, double-dealing Israel Hands, and seemingly mad Ben Gunn, buccaneers of varying shades of menace; and, of course, garrulous, affable, ambiguous Long John Silver, who is one moment a friendly, laughing, one-legged sea-cook . . .and the next a dangerous pirate leader!

The unexpected and complex relationship that develops between Silver and Jim helps transform what seems at first to be a simple, rip-roaring adventure story into a deeply moving study of a boy’s growth into manhood, as he learns hard lessons about friendship, loyalty, courage and honor—and the uncertain meaning of good and evil.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

I read Treasure Island to complete the category of Book Mentioned in Another Book for the 2017 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. Treasure Island was mentioned in the Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke. It has also been recommended to me by my husband, who is typically pretty spot on when it comes to amazing classics.

I cannot believe I never read Treasure Island! It’s the original pirate story with characters I’ve heard of, songs I’ve heard before, and was full of adventure. It was really easy to dive into and I enjoyed it quite a bit. 

It’s hard to really review the book when it’s such a popular classic. I’d be surprised if anyone truly hated Treasure Island and I’d be even more surprised if people weren’t familiar with some of the plot or the pirate tropes in the book. It’s pretty much the foundation of every pirate story I’ve ever been exposed to, which made it even better to read because it felt like picking up an old favorite, despite never having read it before. 

If you’re looking to read a classic that isn’t difficult to get into, Treasure Island is perfect because it’s not stuffy or overwritten or outdated. It’s great fun.

Star 4

Owlcrate Unboxing – October 2017

 

The theme for October 2017’s Owlcrate was

Find Me in the Forest

 

Owlcrate.jpg

 

I actually won October’s box by participating in the Owlcrate photo challenge!

 

What was in the box?

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The goods:

 

  • Cabeswater candle from In The Wick of Time inspired by The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. It smells like moss and mint.
  • Sherwood Forest loose leaf tea blend from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe inspired by Robin Hood with earl grey and blueberry flavors.
  • The first mug ever to be given in an Owlcrate by artist Cara Kozik inspired by the Forbbiden Forest in Harry Potter
  • Forest/woodland coaster designed by Kristin Askland 
  • Magnetic Where the Whild Things Are Bookmarks by Craftedvan
  • Art print by Audra Auclair inspired by Princess Mononoke
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore with handwritten letter, signed bookplate, and pack of seeds with exlusive Owlcrate cover

 

 

 

My thoughts:

Once again, I’m amazed at how much stuff comes in a box that only costs me $29.99 plus shipping. I was pretty happy with everything in the box, even if I don’t know what the art print is, but it’s at least pretty. I love the mug and I am extremely happy that  Owlcrate has finally caved and given us a mug. I’m over bookish candles and I loathe getting them, but I’m extremely happy to have one inspired by a series I love and I’m beyond ecstatic that it doesn’t smell like food/dessert/sweetness. The tea sounds delicious and I’ve been pretty happy with everything I’ve bought or been given by Riddle’s Tea Shoppe, so I know I’ll be satisfied with it. 

Overall, this month’s box was a good buy, great value, and has a lot of items I enjoyed.

 

Review – The Winter Girl by Matt Marinovich

 

The Winter Girl

By Matt Marinovich

SummaryA scathing and exhilarating thriller that begins with a husband’s obsession with the seemingly vacant house next door.

It’s wintertime in the Hamptons, where Scott and his wife, Elise, have come to be with her terminally ill father, Victor, to await the inevitable. As weeks turn to months, their daily routine—Elise at the hospital with her father, Scott pretending to work and drinking Victor’s booze—only highlights their growing resentment and dissatisfaction with the usual litany of unhappy marriages: work, love, passion, each other. But then Scott notices something simple, even innocuous. Every night at precisely eleven, the lights in the neighbor’s bedroom turn off. It’s clearly a timer…but in the dead of winter with no one else around, there’s something about that light he can’t let go of. So one day while Elise is at the hospital, he breaks in. And he feels a jolt of excitement he hasn’t felt in a long time. Soon, it’s not hard to enlist his wife as a partner in crime and see if they can’t restart the passion.

Their one simple transgression quickly sends husband and wife down a deliriously wicked spiral of bad decisions, infidelities, escalating violence, and absolutely shocking revelations.
Matt Marinovich makes a strong statement with this novel. The Winter Girl is the psychological thriller done to absolute perfection.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

I love a good thriller, especially ones that deal with families and secrets. The Winter Girl didn’t have great reviews, but I felt like the synopsis was strong.

The beginning of the book was great. I wanted to know more about the awful couple and her sick father and what on earth the problem was, but things got out of hand really quickly.

I don’t even know where to start with the review because the book was just insane, over the top, and full of the most coincidental, awful, and weird secrets. Like.. just don’t even waste your time.

This book has some of the ingredients that could make a great thriller, but none of the storytelling and execution that makes it shine. I don’t even need to like the characters, I just need to believe them. I didn’t believe in anything in the book. 

The only good thing about the book was that it completed a category in my reading challenge and wasn’t long, so I got that category completed fairly quickly.

Star 1

 

Review – Lord Loss (Demonata #1) by Darren Shan

 

Lord Loss (Demonata #1)

By Darren Shan

SummaryGrubbs Grady has stiff red hair and is a little big for his age, which means he can get into R-rated movies. He hates history and loves bacon, rats, and playing tricks on his squeamish older sister. When he opts out of a family weekend trip, he never guesses that he is about to take a terrifying journey into darkness. Hungry demons and howling werewolves haunt his waking nightmares… and threaten his life.

Source:

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Review

Lord Loss was full of gore and horror and violence.

The book was in the YA section of the bookstore and not the Middle Grade section and I think that’s largely due to how much gore was in it, but otherwise, I feel like it belongs in the MG section. Which is part of the reason I only rated it 3 stars. 

Lord Loss would be the perfect book to give to fans of Goosebumps who have begun to grow out of that phase and long for something a little darker, but is still a younger teen. It’s a great book for those who aren’t old enough for actual horror, but aren’t prone to nightmares. It’s a perfect book for kids young enough to distrust parents and adults, but old enough to not be completely horrified by blood and demons.

As an adult who loves YA, I do have to be careful sometimes because there are books in that section that are too young for me and Lord Loss was one of them. Some books just feature younger characters while others rely on the reader to also be wary of authority and adults and once you are an adult, those books just don’t work anymore. I’ll gladly read about a 15 year old main character, but not if he thinks that even though this one adult is being super upfront and open about a subject, that person should automatically be suspected and it’s perfectly acceptable to slink around and not trust them and go with your gut about something you have zero experience with. *sigh*

To be fair, though, if you have a teen (especially a teen boy) who seems to not want to read and loves horror, this book will probably get him to read again. It’s fun and violent and awesome.

Star 3

Review – Scythe (Arc of Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

 

Scythe (Arc of Scythe #1)

By Neal Shusterman

SummaryThou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. 

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Source: I purchased a hardcover

Review

I bought Scythe because the premise seemed a bit intriguing and it was a signed copy. Mostly, I wanted to know if it would be decent. I wasn’t a fan of the Unwind Dystology after the first book because things just got to be too crazy and out there to be remotely plausible. I know that not all dystopian books will be plausible, but I feel like there should be some degree of “what if?” in order to be scarier and more thought provoking. But I loved Challenger Deep by the author, so I know that he’s 100% capable of some really amazing storytelling.

I enjoyed Scythe. It was thought provoking and a tad more believable than the Unwind Dystology, enough to where I felt more invested in the story and the society it took place in. It was still a bit far fetched and I wished that it was a little more grounded in reality.

The Scythe Commandments left WAY too much room for error and there are a handful of ways to ensure completely fair methods of population control while not leaving so much room open for the wrong sort of people to take advantage and still technically follow the rules. I hate when I see glaringly obvious ways to turn the dystopia back into a utopia, but I enjoyed the scythe way of life so I just ignored the obvious solution and kept reading. It didn’t bother me nearly as much as the whole premise of Unwind (like what parents would or could actually unwind their kids? It’s so far fetched that it made it impossible to be as thought provoking as the premise would initially sound.) But the bit plot hole was a tad bit frustrating.

I feel like the series has a lot of potential, but it could just as easily turn into a completely insane, too far from reality, type of story. Still, I flew through the pages and cared about the characters, so I had to give it four stars.

Star 4

Bookish Teas

 

I know I’m not the only bookworm who loves to pair books with tea.

I was approached by Adagio Teas to try out some of their fandom blends of tea, so I snagged a few sample tins and got to brewing some bookish tea.

 

 

The blends that I got:

 

 

 And Adagio teas sent me some Virgo tea since I ordered during my birth month.

 

 

Thoughts:

I have loved every bit of the tea that I’ve gotten and tried. I love the tins so much, too, and that there were a ton of teas on the website. There is something for just about every fandom, even those that aren’t book related. 

I would definitely order more teas! I highly recommend the site, as it was easy to find book nerd tea and find affordable blends.

 

 

 

What do you drink while you read?